Whilst Harry knew he was innocent and we both still assumed that this was a big mistake and that the police would realise the truth and stop all of this, he was on police bail which stated no contact with a child and as this was so restricting we knew we needed legal help to understand what this really meant in practice. We therefore started researching solicitors.
When you have previously had no need for a solicitor for any legal matter, where do you start?!!! Do you contact a local solicitor, a legal practice who seem to have experience of historic sexual cases or do large London firms provide a better service? What 'service' do we actually need? At this stage we just wanted to understand what the bail condition 'no contact with a child' meant. Could he see his grandchildren if other adults are there? Do we have to walk out of a pub if a child was in there; cross the street if a child walks towards us on the pavement? As law abiding citizens we wanted to make sure we adhered to the bail condition in full. Whilst we waited to find a solicitor, we had chosen to exclude ourselves from contact with children including his grandchildren and to stay in every night, to make sure we complied.
I emailed some solicitors to find out what services they offered and to understand costs. Some of the replies I got were brief and not informative. One response said 'we do not take legal aid cases and we require £30,000 on account before any meetings will be booked with our solicitors' and there was absolutely no detail of what service was offered for that £30,000. It appeared that the solicitor was so arrogant and that there are so many people needing support in historic sexual cases, that they could afford to be as blunt as this.
I also researched the criteria for legal aid and quickly realised that obtaining legal aid was going to be difficult as we both worked and didn't have any dependents. The cost of the solictor therefore had to be a consideration, as we said that we didn't want to remortgage the house unless we had to.
We visited our local solicitor who gave us an introductory meeting, which resulted in them amending the bail condition to 'unsupervised contact with a child' and they convinced us that the legal practice had counsel with extensive experience in defending historic sexual cases. Whilst we were still questioning whether we should research further into legal options, we didn't know what we were looking for or whether this was going to stop soon and therefore we gave the local solicitors permission to contact the police station and provide themselves as the contact for Harry's case.
In hindsight, I appreciate how important it is that the best legal support, that you can afford, is acquired, as this can make all the difference in reducing the stress of the process and presenting the best defence.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!